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  • Writer's pictureMel Gedruj

Sustainability in Agricultural matters

I always stick to EVOO and Wine in my musings but this time, I just received via a subscription email a piece published on the Olive Oil Times dealing with Big Agribiz forays in the " sustainable" and "regenerative" agricultural world. I found the words to be eloquent and the concepts beautifully articulated.

The issue is that all the references seem to lean in favour of the very large global players with production systems that are not usually known for their environmental friendliness nor local mindedness.. I know , it is easy to always criticize large outfits and portray them as villains. To be fair , many people living today, may not be aware of the challenges experienced in the 70s when famine and food scarcity were global issues to be addressed. It required much capital and science to achieve the unthinkable, feed millions of people and avoid a humanitarian crisis, the like of which was very rarely seen in history.

Large organizations had the wherewithal to deliver global solutions and indeed they delivered. Scientists provided options for higher yields, "harder" crops and pesticides etc.. so the urgent problem was met head on. The only issue is that solutions of that kind of magnitude may have had unintended consequences on local farming and distribution networks.

Todays concerns with sustainability talk seems to not take into account traditional localized practices and voices. It seems as an all top down model imposed with very little say left for independent farmers and their customers.

Greater diversity should be taking place , since diversity is definitely what we all seek.... First we should layout the historical perspective, humans have been growing food for millennia and as an example wine and olive oil are staples dating back to at least 6000 years if not more. , . Then next comes what we have learned through science ( Biology, Bio Chemistry , environmental ....) other steps maybe considered , but as we learn , we maybe able to make our own as "educated " consumers...

We live in very unsettling times when discussing any social / cultural issues has become acrimonious and and not always very productive. But food is fundamental to our survival, well being and cultural ways. It should be part of a reasoned , enlightened dialog informed both by thousands of years of human knowledge and modern scientific discoveries.

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